Tech workers like their jobs. But they're still going to look for new ones

Businesses recognize the need to upskill their IT staff in a hot jobs market.
Written by Owen Hughes, Senior Editor
Man and woman working at computers
Image: Getty Images

Just because developer and tech workers are enjoying their jobs, that probably won't stop them looking around for something new in an apparently still-bouyant tech jobs market.

Skillsoft's 2022 IT Skills and Salary Report surveyed nearly 8,000 IT professionals and decision makers globally to understand the current state of skills, training, compensation and job satisfaction in the industry.

If found that 66% of IT decision makers recognize skills gaps in their teams, a problem that is being driven by both difficulties in hiring and retaining workers, as well as underinvestment in training and development opportunities for existing staff.

In 2022, 63% of IT leaders have been unable to fill three of more positions, according to Skillsoft. Highly skilled candidates in cloud computing, data science and cybersecurity have proved particularly hard to find.

The top factors driving skills gaps cited by IT leaders are difficulties with hiring skilled candidates (44%) and employee retention (33%), while 26% said not enough resources are being invested into training.

Professionals, meanwhile, are eager to hone their technical and interpersonal skills, so they can progress their careers and up their salaries.

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These factors continue to play a crucial role in employee retention. According to Skillsoft's survey, IT workers are primarily motivated to change jobs for an increase in compensation (38%), followed by a lack of training, growth and development opportunities (33%), and a lack of work-life balance (25%) in their existing roles.

While job satisfaction among IT workers is high, with 73% reporting they are satisfied or extremely satisfied with their current role, more than half of respondents to Skillsoft's survey said it was likely or extremely likely that they would look for another position during the next 12 months.

Employers are also struggling to deliver on IT training and upskilling opportunities – despite recognizing skills gaps as a "medium or high risk" to the business.

Skillsoft concluded that companies would have to put training and upskilling opportunities front and center if they hope to retain skilled tech professionals: "Employees who aren't appreciated will consider looking for new opportunities. This should serve as a wake-up call to employers and IT decision makers that the need to invest in their most valuable asset – their employees – is paramount."

The irony appears to be that many employers report having upskilling initiatives for tech staff already – they're just not clear on the type of skills they should be training staff in, or making theses opportunities visible to employees.

Skillsoft found that nearly 72% of decision makers report that their company offers formal training, compared to just 17% of IT professionals.

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Meanwhile, a quarter of IT leaders said their company doesn't invest in training, or otherwise that training was not effective. Leaders also said they didn't anticipate requiring the skills they were currently lacking or otherwise failed to assess skills within their own employee base.

The incentives for addressing this trend are that it benefits both employers and employees, particularly IT staff who participant in formal certification training, such as CRISC, AWS, CISM, and Google Cloud.

Tech professionals who complete certification training report improvements in their quality of work (56%), engagement (41%) and productivity, Skillsoft found. There's also an obvious financial incentive to certifications for professionals seeking higher salaries.

The good news, according to Skillsoft, is that the number of IT decision makers reporting organizational skills gaps has decreased by 10% compared to 2021.

Orla Daly, CIO at Skillsoft, said the results indicate the challenge of plugging tech talent gaps is not "insurmountable".

"Our report shows quite a few positives, especially in the value of tapping into employees' desire for upskilling and growth," said Daly.

"With deliberate planning focused on creating transformative learning experiences, we, as an industry, can not only solve today's skills gaps, but also create a sustainable workforce aligned to future skill needs." 

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